St. John's Episcopal Church
The unique design of our roof is symbolic of both; praying hands and the hull of a ship. The cross was placed outside as a visible symbol of
Christ in the community.
Our Core Values:
INCLUSIVITY – We reach out to anyone who needs a safe and genuinely welcoming place to seek and to know God.
WORSHIP – We find God’s presence in the Eucharist, in the scriptures, and in our music and are instructed, comforted, renewed, and challenged by them.
DISCIPLESHIP – We are called to share our personal relationship with God, through Jesus, and to share Christ’s love with all people through worship, education, and ministry.
CARING AND COMPASSION – We are committed to serving and giving in the name of Jesus for the spiritual, emotional, and physical needs of our parish, our city, and the world.
COMMUNITY – We join together as individuals to become the body of Christ. As such we use our spiritual gifts to rejoice together, mourn together, to delight in each other, and to make others’ conditions our own.
1912 – 1920
St. John’s has been a vital presence in the Plymouth area for over a hundred years. Its birth began in 1898 with a small group of women organizing the Women’s Guild of St. John’s Mission. The congregation held services in several rented locations in downtown Plymouth. By 1903 there were so few members that it closed.
On January 21, 1912, through the efforts of Arthur Torre, Mrs. Maggie Baxter, of St. Peter’s Parish in Detroit, came to Plymouth and reorganized St. John’s Guild with eleven members. Services were resumed in the Universalist Church which we rented at the corner of Dodge and Union Streets. Dodge Street no longer exists, but this church would have stood behind the current police station.
Mr. Harry Midworth, a Diocesan Lay Reader, came from Detroit every Sunday and conducted services, his only remuneration being seventy-five cents carfare and his lunch. A meeting of the congregation was held and it was decided that St. John’s should become an organized Mission of the Diocese. The resolution was presented to Bishop Charles D. Williams, D.D., who gave his consent and appointed a Vestry consisting of a Warden and three Vestrymen on February 19, 1912.
When the Universalist Church was purchased by the Catholic Church, we made arrangements to build on Union Street.
1920 – 1927
This first church, built on Union Street in 1920, was made possible to a great extent by the gift of a piece of property by the wife of Bishop White of Michigan City, Indiana, as a memorial to the late Mr. T. P. May. Mr. May, an ardent churchman, and uncle to Mrs. White, had long cherished the hope that Plymouth would someday have an Episcopal Church. The property donated was not suitable for a church site and was sold. A more centrally located piece of land was purchased with the proceeds, the balance going into the Thomas P. May Memorial Fund. The property purchased was located on Union Street between Grange Hall and the Wilcox house near Kellogg Park in Plymouth.
The Diocese of Michigan also donated a piece of property located in Romulus, Michigan. This, too, was sold and the money put into the Building Fund. The Font, now in use in St. John’s Church, came from Romulus, as well as the pews for the Union Street Church.
In 1921, Franklin Gibson succeeded Mr. Midworth. Attendance increased, Sunday school flourished and church finances began to look encouraging.
St. John’s occupied this church until 1927 when plans were made to build a new church on Maple Street. This building was rented to the Salvation Army, which they eventually purchased.
1927 - 1960
The second St. John’s Church building, located at 1013 Maple Avenue West, Plymouth, was occupied by the Congregation in January, 1927. Five lots were purchased at the corner of Maple and Harvey Streets, Plymouth, for $2,530.
The Rev. Francis Tetu was called as rector in 1942, and by 1944 St. John’s was granted Parish Status.
In 1946, the basement was excavated and the provision of a dining room, kitchen, and Sunday school rooms was undertaken. Much hard work and sacrifice went into this undertaking, especially by the men, and it proved to be a real boom to the Parish. These additional facilities brought increased activities in the church. In 1947, the pews were installed which made the upstairs more like a church.
The Rev. Alexander Miller served as rector from 1948-1951.
The Rev. Canon David T. Davies served as rector from 1951–1969. This was a time of growth and change for St. John’s.
This location is now the parking lot of the Community Financial Credit Union, as they purchased the property in 1961.
1960 – Present
St. John’s present location is 574 S. Sheldon Road in Plymouth. The four acres for this site were acquired from parishioners Robert Sr. and Maxine Willoughby. The rectory, now St. John’s Youth House, was the first to be built on the Sheldon Road site in 1952–1953.
Father Davies, Mrs. Alva Davies and their two sons, John and Allen, moved to Plymouth on November 15, 1951 and lived at 861 Williams Street, until the new rectory was complete. The Rev. Davies conducted his first services on November 18, 1951. In April of 1953, the family moved into the new rectory.
In 1955, a building campaign was begun to build a church on the Sheldon Road site. Ground was broken for the Church building in 1959, and the first service was held on June 3, 1960. St. John’s Episcopal Church was dedicated on September 15, 1960.
The unique design was symbolic of both praying hands and the hull of a ship. The cross was placed outside as a visible symbol of Christ in the community.
Father Robert S. Shank, Jr. served as assistant to Canon Davies from 1966-1969. Upon Father Davies’ retirement, Father Shank served as rector of St. John’s from 1969-1994. Father William Lupfer served as rector from 1997-2003. On July 3, 2005, Pastor Dorian McGlannan celebrated her first service as rector of St. John’s.
St. John's currently has an Interim Rector, Rev. John H. Conners. Fr. John has been with the congregation from December 2019 until the present. St. John's is in the process of calling a permanent
As St. John’s has grown into a program size church, we have been blessed to have had several assistant rectors and staff members.